Amazon Counter, Shazam for fashion, motor leasing and global search study

Amazon Counter

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This week, Amazon expanded it's Counter initiative from the UK to the US, a geographical reversal on how it usually rolls out services. The free in-store pick-up service has partnered with Rite Aid, one of the biggest names in pharmaceutical stores in the US.

Many industry commentators believe this partnership has been chosen because Amazon can use the Rite Aid locations to provide alternative locations for Pillpack - a full-service online pharmacy that packages your medication and delivers to you.

The two brands will kick off Counter with space in over 100 Rite Aid locations across the US. The longer-term plan for Amazon is to expand the pick-up option to 1,500 stores (including other retail partners) by the end of 2019.

Counter launched first in Europe, by way of a partnership with the clothes retailer Next in the UK, and Giunti Al Punto Librerie, Fermopoint and SisalPay in Italy. Amazon said the service has so far “been positively received, driving strong customer engagement and additional foot traffic for partners” in those markets.

The deal is a development on Amazon’s bigger strategy to take its business - born and raised online - into ever-more traditional retail settings, both to increase options for its online shoppers, as well as bringing more customers into the fold who prefer to procure their goods in person rather than by post.

Shazam for fashion

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Amazon is launching Shazam for fashion, with a new feature in its app where customers can upload a photograph of a fashion look that they like and Amazon will find the closest match on its site. StyleSnap will use “computer vision” and “deep learning” to identify apparel pieces in a photo.

Amazon say this technology is inspired by the working of the human brain. Neural networks are made up of millions of artificial neurons connected to each other and can be ‘trained’ to detect images of outfits by feeding it a series of images. For example, if we feed a network thousands of images of maxi and accordion skirts, it will eventually be able to tell the difference between the two styles.

Amazon wants to become your go-to destination for fashion so it’s investing in technology to make it easier to shop there.

Amazon Motors launches in Spain 

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Amazon.es launched 'Motors' this week, a new store allowing customers to lease a car from a range of brands. Amazon have partnered with ALD Automotive, a leading car leasing company, to offer the service.

All leasing packages on Amazon.es include maintenance, insurance, tyre change, breakdown assistance, vehicle registration, and an excess mileage buffer. Customers can benefit from low prices that include free doorstep delivery and a 50km/30-day return policy.

After selecting their car, configuration and lease duration, customers receive an email with a link taking them to leasing provider ALD Automotive’s online leasing platform, where customers complete a credit assessment and sign the contract. The entire process is done online. ALD Automotive will schedule free delivery of the car to the customer’s doorstep and manage the lease for the duration of the contract. Customers can simply exchange their current model and renew their contract for a new car every 3 to 4 years.

Generic search term research

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A new study by Marketplace Pulse revealed that 78% of searches done on Amazon are for generic goods. That means consumers are searching for “running shoes women” or “tennis shoes for men” rather than asking, specifically, for Nike, Adidas, or Puma.

Marketplace Pulse analyzed 100,000 of the most popular search terms by volume, representing an estimated 64% of all Amazon search volume. Search terms including a brand name like “Apple” or a specific product like “iPhone” were counted as branded. 78% of the top 100,000 search terms didn’t include a brand; however, more popular search terms are more likely to be branded with 74% of the top 10,000 and 68% of the top 1,000 search terms including a brand name.

Search keywords highlight how Amazon shoppers’ behavior is shifted from a brand-driven to a needs-based decision process. Unlike on social media where shoppers follow particular brands or go to brand boutiques, on Amazon, they are most often searching for a need. For example, instead of looking for specific Nike shoes, they are searching for any running shoes and then using the product page information (e.g. rating, reviews, questions and images) to pick the best.

All this doesn’t mean that shoppers on Amazon ignore or are unfamiliar with brands. On the contrary, “Nike shoes men” and “Adidas shoes women” appear more often than the generic “running shoes men.” However, in aggregate, most searches are brandless. In some categories like running shoes shoppers are familiar with Nike or Adidas, and thus explicitly search for them. In most categories, they are not, however. They search for “laptop,” “mattress,” and “swimsuits” without being sure which brand to pick. There it’s up to the brand to surface first in search results.

At Tambo, we find the top generic keywords for our clients' products and develop a plan, including SEO and Amazon Advertising tactics to increase visibility on the most important generic terms.